Category: recipe
Recipes, Stuff, Syrups, Tiki Month 2016

Falernum Sous Vide

[caption id="attachment_11008" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Tiki in a pan! Tiki in a pan![/caption] Along with rum itself, there are two ingredients which practically define Tiki: Orgeat and Falernum. Now, vanishingly few Tiki drinks employ all three of this trinity, and indeed, there are Tiki drinks that employ none of them. But in the vast majority of recipes, there is no faster way to identify a Tiki drink than to spot rum and either falernum or orgeat. Truth to tell, of the two, I use orgeat a lot more. It is the Bartender's Ketchup of the Tiki world. Flavors too distinct? Put in some Orgeat. Mouthfeel too thin? Add some orgeat. Delicious but lacking that certain soo se mea lava? Orgeat is your special sauce. It is a bit of a passive ingredient, actually; identifiable more for its effects than for any distinct flavor of its own. Falernum is a much more assertive ingredient. It has strong, unique flavors. As a Tiki tool, it is a bit like a large band saw; employ it with exacting precision and it is fantastically useful. But if you get the slightest bit careless with it, the appeal will become... more selective. What I'm saying is, it is hard to master. Ditto for making it. In fact, falernum may be harder to make than it is to use. No one can agree what's in it. The ingredients that people do agree on require a lot of manual labor. The process is traditionally messy, gross looking, and immediately apparent to anyone in the building with a nose. And it requires a lot of time. As in, you will use your Calendar app, not your Stopwatch app. [caption id="attachment_11010" align="aligncenter" width="650"]This is the world's only known attractive photograph of the falernum process. —Kaiser Penguin This is the world's only known attractive photograph of the falernum process.
Kaiser Penguin[/caption] Fortunately, the increasing availability and affordability of sous vide technology can make this process much, much easier. Almost easy enough to do regularly.... Let's dive into the process, shall we? As I said, there is no definitive recipe for falernum. It's like cole slaw–everyone has their own. All cole slaw has cabbage and mayo. All falernum has clove and lime zest. Beyond that.... Back in the early, heady days of the 21st Century cocktail revival, there was quite a spate of blog activity in search of the definitive falernum. Two of the best results were from Kaiser Penguin (of the photo above), and Paul Clark's Velocity 9 Falernum #9. These days, much of the publishing world at least seems to settle on #9 as the default choice, probably because Paul has "connections"... and also "talent", and "a good recipe".
... aaaand after all that, you aren't going to use Paul's recipe, are you?
No, because I like a few elements of KP's, too. Incidentally, while the point of this post is to end up discussing how sous vide can make making falernum a lot more convenient, do not go and use the recipe blogged by Sous Vide Supreme, the people who make the water bath I own. It is too sweet and insipid in flavor. I realize I just spent too many bytes talking about how intimidating falernum is as an ingredient, but trying to overcome this by using a weak formulation is a bit like punching a bully lightly, or holding the stock of your 12 gauge away from your shoulder because you are afraid of the kick. It will not end well. Take a gallon Ziplock double seal bag. Put in one and a half cups of granulated sugar and three quarters of a cup of hot tap water. Seal and shake. You don't need to fully dissolve the sugar, but make sure there are no dry pockets. Set aside. Put 2 Tbsp of slivered almonds, 1 Tbsp of whole allspice berries, and 40-50 cloves in a small saucepan. Toast lightly over medium-low heat for about four to five minutes, or until your whole house smells like that gardener who smoked clove cigarettes and worked down the street when you were a kid. Allow to cool. Collect the zest of nine good, fresh limes. This is the hardest part of the process, and no sous vide will help with it. You want as much of the green from the peel as possible and none of the white pith. A peeler will probably go too deep, and you will need to finely chop the peel anyway. I use a small microplane and hold the lime with a kevlar glove (because grated Doug makes for funky falernum). It takes a long time and your fingers get sore, even if they don't get scraped. I have heard about a purpose built kitchen gadget called a Zip Zester that may no longer be made. Anyone have experience with this device? Put your toasted ingredients, the bowl of lime zest, and 5 coins of candied ginger into your bag of sugar water. Add three quarters of a cup of decent white rum (I like Cruzan aged light rum for this purpose), 3 tbsp of fresh lime juice, and a quarter to a half teaspoon of almond extract. Seal the bag and shake well to combine and to test. If your kitchen suddenly becomes sticky, you have not sealed the beg correctly. Set your sous vide oven or stick heater to 135° F. Open the seal on your bag slightly and lower it into the water right up to the top. This will force virtually all the air out of the bag. Seal it well again. Lift it out of the water and ensure all the solids are in contact with the liquid in the bottom of the bag and not trapped up above. Submerge the bag in the water and go on with your life for the next two to three hours. [caption id="attachment_11013" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Nope. Still not attractive. Nope. Still not attractive.[/caption] When you are ready, remove the bag and pour through a mesh strainer into a bowl or jar. Discard the spent, smelly, gooey crud in the strainer. Put some cheesecloth in the strainer and strain your falernum through again. Voila! Go make a Zombie. Even with the reduced mess and time of making your falernum sous vide, you still deserve a drink.abc
Applejack/Apple Brandy, Other Liqueurs, Rum, Tiki Month 2016

Modern Tiki Drink: Lost Lake’s GFY

[caption id="attachment_10952" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Lost Lake's presentation is considerably more elaborate then mine.... Lost Lake's "GFY" Their presentation is considerably more elaborate than mine....[/caption] In Chicago, there is a bar. Well, there are lots of bars in Chicago. In Chicago, there is a Tiki bar. Actually, there are multiple great Tiki bars. In Chicago there is a Paul McGee-created Tiki... (Multiple recursions edited for brevity) Lost Lake is the latest Chicago Bar project from Paul McGee, the Meryl Streep of Chicago bartenders. It is the home of some kick-ass Tiki decor, a ludicrous rum selection, and a menu full of modern original Tiki drinks. One of McGee's latest is the GFY. Now, GFY is an interesting name... On Lost Lake's Facebook page, they intimate that it stands for "Good-For-You". That's all well and good, but I have my doubts. I don't see anything particularly healthy about it. Indeed given the alcohol content, I'd come close to giving it a 3 out of 3 daggers (†††) on my personal Tiki Lethality scale. Perhaps there is some other phrase GFY could stand for...?
LOST LAKE'S GFY
  • 1 oz. Calvados
  • 3/4 oz. overproof white rum
  • 1/2 oz. Swedish Punsch
  • 1/2 oz. Dry Curaçao
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 oz. passion fruit syrup
  • 1/2 oz. fresh pineapple juice
Combine with one cup crushed ice and flash blend for five seconds. Pour into a Tiki vessel to suit your mood, and garnish to suit.
Calvados is, of course, pretty unusual as the lead spirit in Tiki drinks. This again illustrates how the 21st Century Tiki Renaissance is enriching the Canon with new notes and chords that add variety to the same old beautiful songs. The GFY is not-quite identifiably fruity, deceptively spiritous, and possesses that unctuously heavy feel in each sip. Each of these are hallmarks of a classic Tiki drink. I haven't actually had a GFY at Lost Lake, or any other drink there for that matter, because I haven't been to Chicago, for business or pleasure, in years. I'd really like to, so I will make an offer to anyone reading this. I will give the first person or business in Chicago to book a Killing Time murder mystery event (yes, my "day job" is just a fun as my booze-writing sideline.) a four hundred dollar discount off the event fee. If interested, please give me a call. Lost Lake abc
Lime Juice, Rule 2, Syrups, tiki, Tiki Month 2016, Whiskey

Modern Tiki Drink: Permanent Holiday

As I said in my Opening Post for Tiki Month, I want to focus to a large extent this year on the new creations that illustrate the strength of the current Tiki revival. The first drink I want to examine this month also illustrates how modern Tiki is expanding upon the previous array of commonly used ingredients to find new ways to create the feelings that somehow define Tiki. [caption id="attachment_10891" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Permanent Holiday Permanent Holiday, by Trey Jenkins via The Hardest Working Blogger in the Cocktailosphere[/caption] Here's the recipe. You'll see that it follows the Tiki formula of a bunch of different boozes, some citrus, and some syrup that defines the overwhelming majority of Tiki drinks. But the alcohols are all out of whack to the traditional eye.
PERMANENT HOLIDAY
  • 1 part bourbon
  • 1 part Averna
  • 1/2 part Licor 43
  • 1 part (pink) grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 part fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 part passion fruit syrup (Homemade or BG Reynolds')
Shake with ice until well chilled, then strain over crushed ice in a Tiki vessel. I used an orange peel wrapped around a spent tattooed lime husk. Depending on who's drinking it, a sprig or even a bunch of fresh mint would not go amiss.
I was seriously curious how this collection of ingredients was going to come out feeling Tiki. When you think upon the genre, bourbon (though a certain prominent exception applies), Italian amaro, and a Spanish liqueur that did not reach American shores until well past Tiki's formative years are not the ingredients that leap to mind. But it works. First of all, it is a good drink. It tastes good. It is interesting. It has a whole lot going on. Secondly, it has that exotic, somewhat undefined flavor profile that triggers all sorts of different flavor impressions in different people which I associate strongly with the best Tiki drinks. This is just the sort of new creation that will help keep Tiki in the craft's consciousness. Drinks like this one expand the "artist's" palette and creative options, while at the same time expands the Tiki market to that guy thinks Tiki drinks sound great, but "who really only drink (Spirit X which isn't rum)".abc
Recipes, Rule 5, Whiskey

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.
WHISKEY SOUR
  • 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 packages.abc
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